Increase in the number of criminal investigations into outlaw bikers
Since the start of the integrated approach to outlaw bikers in January 2012, there has been an increase of approximately 50% in the number of criminal investigations into outlaw bikers. There were approximately 40 criminal investigations at the start of this year; six months on this number has increased to more than 60. This is stated in a letter from Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice to the Lower House, which provides an initial balance as regards the approach to the ‘1% motorcycle clubs’.
Since the Plan of approach for combating 1% motorcycle clubs was published at the start of the integrated approach to outlaw bikers, the following joint key objectives have been established for dealing with outlaw bikers:
- priority for criminal prosecution
- focus on club houses and events
- combating the influence of 1% motorcycle clubs on the hospitality industry, security companies and ‘hardcore’ football supporters
- dealing with people who have no known source of income
- focus on members of 1% motorcycle clubs in government service
Action has since been initiated as regards all of the above points. For example, several investigations took place in the past six months, involving various arrests and searches. The Public Prosecution Service and the police assign priority to criminal investigations into individual members of these motorcycle clubs, who form part of an organisation or otherwise. This concerns in particular criminal cases against members of outlaw biker clubs that are suspected of threats, extortion, unlawful deprivation of liberty, violent crime, homicide and trading in narcotics and (banned) weapons.
As regards club houses, at least eleven municipalities (inter alia Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bergen op Zoom and Enschede) have since closed outlaw bikers’ club houses or plan to do so in the near future. Smaller municipalities receive support, for example, if their zoning plans require adaptation in this connection or in the event of application of the Public Administration (Probity Screening) Act. Various municipalities, such as Gouda and Lierop recently, have refused to give permission for events to be held that could be related to outlaw bikers.
Combating outlaw bikers in the hospitality industry and at security companies is also implemented expeditiously. The National Police Services Agency is also looking at connections between outlaw bikers and football hooligans. It is also being assessed internationally to what extent this phenomenon occurs in other countries and to what extent experiences and best practices can be shared. Outlaw bikers in government service are also a key objective. The reason for this is that membership to these clubs is in many cases incompatible with holding a government position. Research is currently underway to identify the nature and extent of these problems.